A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for money. Musical shows, shopping centers, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels may draw the eye, but it is the games that earn casinos billions in profits each year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and the like are what make up the bulk of a casino’s revenue, providing the entertainment that attracts gamblers and keeps them coming back.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at ancient archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place where people could find many ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, during a gambling craze in Europe. During this time, wealthy nobles often gathered at gambling clubs known as ridotti.

Modern casinos rely heavily on technology for security and to ensure the integrity of their games. Video cameras watch the game floor to spot suspicious patrons, and high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” systems monitor each slot machine and table game in real time, detecting any statistical deviation that might indicate cheating or a change in expected results. Casinos also employ a variety of more traditional measures, including trained dealers and pit bosses who watch over the table games with a closer eye and can quickly spot any blatant attempts at cheating.

Casinos are also known for comping players, giving them free goods and services, such as hotel rooms, dinners and show tickets, in return for their large wagers. Players who regularly play at the same casino are often rewarded with special perks, such as free airline tickets and limo service.